17 fights. 7 years. 2632 days ...
That's how long Anderson Silva remained undefeated.
All starting with an elbow he saw on a movie, Silva entered into the UFC and immediately established that he was a fighter unlike anyone had ever seen before. For 63,168 hours, Silva seemed to move through a moment between realms in fights with the world's most dangerous men. He was always faster, always innovating.
Millions of fans would watch Silva improvise his own, 3,790,080 minutes of violent jazz. Today, on the 10th anniversary of Anderson Silva winning his first UFC title, we take a look back at the crescendos.
This is not the greatest song in the world, this is just a tribute to "The Spider."
UFC 64: Unstoppable - October 14, 2006
After ripping Chris Leben apart in his UFC debut with an arachnid-esque "Art of Eight Limbs" performance, Silva's second fight in the UFC would be for the middleweight title.
Rich Franklin was on an eight-fight win streak going into UFC 64 as the UFC middleweight champion. No one believed this new, lanky striker would be able to stand with the powerful American fighter. It's hard to believe in hindsight that anyone would bet against Silva, but they did and he would once again prove everyone wrong.
Silva was dominant in the clinch and destroyed Franklin with overwhelming knees to win the UFC title. Franklin would have to undergo surgery due to the damage Silva inflicted to his nose.
"There were a lot of people talking before the fight, like, ‘[Anderson Silva] doesn't really deserve a chance at the title this early. He only has one fight in the UFC.' [...] Even the people in the UFC were like, ‘You're going to handle this guy easily. This should be no problem.' ...But I knew. I watched him. I knew Anderson was good. I could tell, this guy is world champion material before he even made it into the UFC." - Rich Franklin to MMA Fighting
UFC 82: Pride of a Champion - March 1, 2008
At UFC 82, two legends would step into the Octagon.
Despite losing a decision to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in a light heavyweight bout upon his UFC return, Dan Henderson was coming off a knockout victory over Wanderlei Silva in Pride to win the Pride middleweight championship. Meanwhile, Silva was still undefeated inside the Octagon and had just dismantled Rich Franklin for a second time, when he defended his title against Henderson. It would take Silva only two rounds to latch on to Henderson and choke him out.
Silva would not only defeat Henderson, but unify the Pride welterweight championship, earning "Submission of the Night" and "Fight of the Night" awards.
UFC 101: Declaration - August 8, 2009
This is the fight where physics would no longer make sense.
In his last fight, Silva would break the UFC record for most consecutive wins and start to look for challenges in higher weights. This is where former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin came in. What would happen next, would become one of the most famous performances ever in the Octagon.
Silva became unhinged. He maneuvered around punches and stopped to look at them before peppering in his own offense in-between the beats. His matrix-like display was disdainful in its superiority. Griffin was knocked down three times, and after the fight was finally waved off, immediately retreated into the back.
"Here's the deal. What's he's doing there is he's getting you to open up, to stop, to get a little frustrated, to load up, so he can counter you. He wants you to throw him that big, slow, hard punch. And that's what he's doing. He's appearing to be open—he's feinting. He's not going out trying to lead the fight. He's trying to get you to [lead]. ... he's trying to suck you in," commented Griffin in an interview with MMAFighting.com.
UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort - February 5, 2011
The legend and ego of Silva had grown exponentially at this point, like a web encasing the entire organization. At UFC 126, Silva was to face his toughest test to date in Vitor Belfort.
Belfort was already a battle-worn warrior at this point in his career. He would come into this heated bout on a five-fight win streak, with his last victory being over Rich Franklin. The fight would end up being as unpredictable as Silva's entire career had been up to this point. In just one round, Silva would connect a front kick to Belfort's jaw. earning Knockout of the Night honors. It was Belfort's his first knockout loss in 28 career fights.
The greatest of all time candidate would continue to eradicate anyone who ended up in his Octagon, before finally being defeated by Chris Weidman at UFC 162. He set the UFC record for most consecutive wins at 16.
What is your favorite Anderson Silva UFC highlight?
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